More Porn Equals Less Crime, Study Says

Bob Johnson

MANOA, Hawaii — As the use of porn increases, sex crimes usually decline or do not increase at all according to a study done by a University of Hawaii professor and director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society.

And men who watch X-rated movies have better attitudes and are more tolerant toward women.

What’s more, the study suggests that there’s a higher correlation of sexual offenses like rape, by those offenders who had a strict, repressive religious upbringing that prohibited viewing porn.

According to the study, “Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review,” published in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 32 by Milton Diamond, professor of anatomy, biochemistry and physiology, “Over the years, many scientists have investigated the link between pornography (considered legal under the First Amendment in the United States unless judged 'obscene') and sex crimes and attitudes towards women. And in every region investigated, researchers have found that as pornography has increased in availability, sex crimes have either decreased or not increased."

Diamond’s study goes on to say that some people argue that ready access to pornography disrupts social order, encourages rape, sexual assault, and other sex-related crimes. And even if pornography doesn’t trigger a crime, it contributes to the degradation of women by causing men to want their women to act out misogynistic fantasies.

Many even adamantly believe that pornography should become illegal, the study said.

But the professor's research contradicts the claims of anti-porn crusaders.

Diamond said that to examine the effect this widespread use of porn has on society, researchers have often exposed people to porn and measured variables such as changes in attitude or predicted behaviors, interviewed sex offenders about their experience with pornography, and interviewed victims of sex abuse to evaluate if pornography was involved in the assault.

“Surprisingly few studies have linked the availability of porn in any society with antisocial behaviors or sex crimes. Among those studies none have found a causal relationship and very few have even found one positive correlation," he said.

Diamond quoted FBI stats that report despite widespread and increasing availability of sexually explicit materials, the incidence of rape declined markedly from 1975 to 1995. This was particularly seen in the age categories 20–24 and 25–34, the people most likely to use the internet.

"The best known of these national studies are those of Berl Kutchinsky, who studied Denmark, Sweden, West Germany, and the United States in the '70s and '80s. He showed that from approximately 1964 to 1984, as the amount of pornography increased, the rate of rapes in these countries either decreased or remained relatively level."

The report continued, "Later research has shown parallel findings in every other country examined, including Japan, Croatia, China, Poland, Finland, and the Czech Republic. In the United States there has been a consistent decline in rape over the last two decades."

Diamond's study added that no community in the U.S. has ever voted to ban adult access to sexually explicit material. "The only feature of a community standard that holds is an intolerance for materials in which minors are involved as participants or consumers,” the report stated.

The study said that although the police sometime suggest a high use of porn by sex offenders, the claim is meaningless because nearly all men have at some time used porn.

“Looking closer, Michael Goldstein and Harold Kant found that rapists were more likely than non-rapists in the prison population to have been punished for looking at pornography while a youngster, while other research has shown that incarcerated non-rapists had seen more pornography, and seen it at an earlier age, than rapists. What does correlate highly with sex offense is a strict, repressive religious upbringing.”

Another researcher quoted in Diamond's study, Richard Green, also reported that both rapists and child molesters use less pornography than a control group of "normal’ males.”

As far as porn's negative effect on women, Diamond’s research pointed out that studies of men who had seen X-rated movies found that they were significantly more tolerant and accepting of women than those men who didn’t see those movies. Furthermore, studies by other investigators, both male and female essentially agreed. "There was no detectable relationship between the amount of exposure to pornography and any measure of misogynist attitudes."

"No researcher or critic has found the opposite, that exposure to pornography — by any definition — has had a cause-and-effect relationship towards ill feelings or actions against women. No correlation has even been found between exposure to porn and calloused attitudes toward women," the research reported.

“There is no doubt that some people have claimed to suffer adverse effects from exposure to pornography — just look at testimony from women’s shelters, divorce courts and other venues. But there is no evidence it was the cause of the claimed abuse or harm,” the study stated.

The professor concluded that any freedom can be misused and sometimes spawn illegal activities whereby those who do are punished and incarcerated. But that doesn’t mean that the freedom of the majority should be restricted. “In the United States, where one out of every 138 residents is incarcerated, just imagine if pornography were illegal — there’d be more people in prison than out,” Diamond said.

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